I am here to tell you -maybe burst some bubbles, that marriage is HARD, like, really hard, especially if you have a special needs kiddo who needed lots of surgeries/ procedures. Dan and I were just 18 and 19 when we got married -we were kids. We had an apartment, a new car, with a payment, a 1 year old with Spina Bifida, and not a damn clue what we were doing.
Anyway, lets get to the real reason you’re here! Dan and I will be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary next month (anniversary ideas welcomed -gifts, too), SO, I thought I would share 12 lessons I’ve learned along to way. It feels like we’ve really been through it all (no cheating -that’s a hard line) and, because it’s been over a decade, I feel like I can now offer advice.
Alright, here we go, these are in no particular order.
(1) Communicate- This is a hard one -took us years- but is key for a healthy and successful marriage. You have to be willing to consistently work on it every single day. Remember, once the kids are gone, it’s just the two of you. Take care of it! Start by writing down things you’d like to work on, then talk with your hubby and add his input (ex: Patience, Give more time). If you have an issue, take it up with him right away -calmly. Don’t yell, I used to; It doesn’t help anything. If it gets to this point just walk away. Also, be open to getting constructive criticism.
(2) Take some time apart now & again- Dan and I went 14 years without being apart for more than a week. He recently started doing so traveling for work and it’s actually kind of nice, I never really got to miss him before.
(3) Arguments need to be fair- I am a firm believer in speaking your mind, but choose wisely. If the conversation starts to get heated, take a breath, leave the room, anything just as long as you don’t say anything you will regret. No name calling and and if you have kids, do have your discussions in private. Lastly, don’t use the “D” word, it’s hurtful, so why do it?
(4) Keep electronics to a minimum- Go do something fun. Try to be in the moment. You won’t get this time back. I know when Dan, or anyone for that matter, is on the phone while we’re spending time together it makes me feel ignored. like there’s maybe somewhere else he’d rather be. So, Put ’em away!
(5) Date your husband- We used to go months and months (I also have anxiety and wouldn’t leave my kids with anyone) without a date. You don’t have to spend a lot of money; it can be at home if you want, I love dates at home. I spend most days with no make-up on, my hair thrown up, complete with the current “mom-iform” – yoga pants and a tee or hoodie. So, sometimes it’s fun to have something to get dolled up for.
(6) Seasons Change- You will both change over time; clothes, hair styles, weight, opinions, everything It can be tough at times, but if you’re willing to voice your opinion, calmly, then compromise can happen. Remember, you love him no matter how crazy he gets.
(7) Don’t share your marital problems online, ever- I have seen this time and time again, it never ends well. Share the good, but don’t share too much. There are some things you should keep between you and your husband. All you’re doing is stirring your own pot.
(8) Talk to someone- A friend, a counselor, anyone who you trust enough to really to vent too. I don’t really have this, personally, but when I do, it usually helps me. Just make sure you don’t get caught in any friend/hubby drama -been there and it sucks. I have found that it usually turns into a problem at home.
(9) Build your man up- Men need to be boosted. We need to remind them they are doing great things and you appreciate them. I try to tell Dan a couple times a week. All you have to do is send a quick, “Thanks for all you do for you, I love you.” It’s easy.
(10) Take a more submissive role- I know this can be controversial, but hear me out. It can make them feel small and insignificant when we is constantly dictating, belittling, and bossing them around. Put them in the drivers seat; Give them final say. Let them take charge, so they can take care of their families. I am with our kids way more than Dan, so I have the immediate control there, but if something bigger comes up, I will wait and discuss it with Dan. He makes the majority of the “final say” decisions, but I know if I don’t agree I can put my foot down. He’s pretty good about listening.
(11) Have sex with your man- I used to think sex just wasn’t for me after I started having kids. I was overweight, which made me self conscious, and it seemed like we argued all the time because, well, life it hard. Anyway, all of this led to a lot of years when we’d go months -poor Dan, I know. Once I decided to make it a priority, it changed our marriage -no joke. We both felt more connected and less stressed. If you can, try for at least twice a week; It doesn’t have to be fancy or anything, just connect.
(12) Be there, always- There will be times throughout your marriage, so when times get tough, don’t run away. Talk it out, ask if there is anything you can do, he needs to know you are there -in his corner- and that you aren’t going anywhere.
There you have it, the 12 top lessons I’ve learned in 12 years of marriage. And keep in mind your husband should be reciprocating some of these. Marriage isn’t 50/50, it’s 100/100.